SEOUL (Reuters) - Hyundai Motor Co plans to launch its next-generation fuel-cell electric vehicle in early 2018, Vice Chairman Yang Woong-chul said on Wednesday, to better compete with Japanese rivals and meet tougher emissions rules.
Hyundai launched the world’s first mass-produced fuel cell vehicle in 2013, dubbed the Tucson Fuel Cell, but sales have trailed expectations due in part to a lack of refueling stations and a high price tag.
For its new fuel cell vehicle, the automaker is set to double the driving range to about 800 kilometers (497 miles), the Electronic Times reported in January.
The new model will be a sport utility vehicle (SUV), in contrast to the fuel cell sedans of Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co Ltd, the South Korean newspaper reported citing a high-ranking Hyundai official.
The automaker declined to comment on details of the new fuel cell vehicle when contacted by Reuters. Vice Chairman Yang was speaking on Wednesday during a ministerial tour of a Hyundai research and development center.
Hyundai, which has long trumpeted fuel-cell vehicles - those powered by electricity generated using hydrogen and oxygen - also plans to launch its first battery-powered car later this year.
Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Christopher Cushing